Yesterday, the Founder conference 2010 gathered two hundred enthusiastic entrepreneurs looking for advice and cofounders to start their new business. First speaker was Aaron Patzer, well-known CEO of Mint.com which has been boug
ht by Intuit for $170M in 2009. According to Aaron, the entrepreneur path is a long journey. “In the early days of Mint.com, I was living in Sunnyvale, most boring place in the Bay Area and had no sex life for a year” Confessed Aaron, “but self-doubt is okay as soon as you know what you’re aiming at”. Aaron stated that people recruitment is critical and that you need to “solve every people needs and problems if you want to have wonderful workers”. For example, Aaron found a girlfriend to his cofounder (who happened to be now his wife) and he became very dedicated to his work. Down the path, Mint.com has been rejected by more than 50 VCs before being successful. At this time, Aaron was just thinking about how to sell it to Microsoft (Microsoft Money) or Intuit… which he finally succeeded in!
From the very beginning, Mint.com was all about classified transactions to better categorize what money was dedicated to which budget (food, leisure…). It aimed at a personal finance management tool after the market research confirmed there was a great opportunity there. For Aaron, One of the key success factors was Mint marketing. While Mint competitors were launched previously, Mint had more traffic on their website thanks to their original content on their Blog with special weekly rendez-vous on Tuesday among others. It allowed Mint to collect more than 20000 email addresses of people willing to be part of Mint beta. Last but not least, they created a very nice buzz before their launch: they would give you a special access to the Mint beta if you put a badge “I want Mint” on your blogs or Facebook badge. Few weeks after, more than 600 blogs have put the badge and gave Mint.com tremendous free advertising.